Threat Level: green Handler on Duty: Xavier Mertens

SANS ISC: Internet Explorer 9 is out, includes new security features. SANS ISC InfoSec Forums

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Internet Explorer 9 is out, includes new security features.

Microsoft released version 9 of its Internet Explorer web browser. You can download IE 9 from

Microsoft also set up a domain dedicated to the new browser: Unfortunately, that site isn't hosted under the domain, nor does it have an SSL certificate to confirm that it belongs to Microsoft. Using this site to distribute the browser goes against the advice of downloading software only from known vendor websites. Copycat malicious sites claiming to distribute IE 9 will probably appear shortly, if they aren't around yet.

Internet Explorer 9 includes a number of security improvements that make the upgrade worth your consideration. These include application reputation capabilities that are part of the SmartScreen feature that helps protect the user against socially-engineered malware. The browser also supports the notion of Pinned Sites, which implements "secure launch" capabilities to safeguard users' sessions with important websites. Internet Explorer 9 also improves its resistance to exploits by embracing support for DEP/NX, ASLR and SafeSEH memory protection capabilities. The new browser also improves the messages its users see when they download files and programs; the messages are designed to make it easier for the users to assess the risk of opening such files.

Have you had a chance to experiment with Internet Explorer 9? Let us know what you think of its security capabilities.

-- Lenny Zeltser

Lenny Zeltser leads a security consulting team and teaches how to analyze and combat malware. He is active on Twitter and writes a daily security blog.


216 Posts
Mar 15th 2011
We did a limited rollout last night and are noticing major problems with ActiveX controls that worked fine on prior versions of IE.

18 Posts
Joey, had you done any testing with the release candidate?

135 Posts
@dsh: No, we try to avoid the RCs when possible. Obviously, our rollout was extremely limited – development machines, a couple of test VMs, and a small number of end user laptops. Rolling back the laptops - the rollback is clean and leaves a good copy of IE8.

18 Posts
IE9 is not GIAC practice exam friendly. I just logged into my portal account to take a practice exam and IE9 does not handle the exam format at all. I'll attempt Firefox before reverting back to IE8.
1 Posts
I will pass the comment to GIAC for them to look at it. Thanks for the info.

497 Posts
ISC Handler

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